City of Houston employee’s work-related death at Melrose Park prompts closure of nearby polling place

The voting location at Melrose Park Community Center in North Houston closed around midday Tuesday.

Patricia Lim / KUT
The polling place at Melrose Park Community Center closed around midday Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

A North Houston polling place closed around midday Tuesday after a city employee died in a nearby work-related incident, according to officials with Harris County and the City of Houston.

The employee died late Tuesday morning at Melrose Park, 1001 Canino Rd., according to a statement released by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. The nearby voting location at Melrose Park Community Center closed shortly thereafter, according to Leah Shah, a spokesperson for the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office.

“Very unfortunate,” Shah said. “That did impact our ability to keep the location open, so it will be closed for the remainder of the day.”

The Harris County elections office suggested that voters who planned to cast ballots at the Melrose Park Community Center could instead vote at the nearby Hardy Street Senior Citizens Center, 11901 West Hardy Rd. Polls are open until 7 p.m., and a map of the remaining 781 voting locations across the county can be found at harrisvotes.com. Registered voters in Harris County, the largest in Texas, can vote at any of its polling sites.

The Houston Fire Department said in a news release that the person who died was a Houston Parks and Recreation Department employee whose cause of death is “suspected to be electrocution.” The Harris County medical examiner and Houston Police Department are investigating the death, the fire department said.

“My prayers are with the employee's family and co-workers, and I ask all Houstonians to keep them in your prayers,” Turner said in his statement.

A spokesperson for the Houston Parks and Recreation Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Shah, with the county elections office, said she was not sure about the details surrounding the city employee’s death. But she said the nearby voting location “was no longer feasible” in the aftermath.

“I know that there was power issues,” she said. “It involved a utility.”

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